Item description for Spiritual Direction: Beyond the Beginnings by Janet K. Ruffing...
Overview The modern resurgence of interest in spiritual direction comes from every occupation and lifestyle, not just those in the religious life. But while some books cover the basic topic, almost none consider the subject of advanced direction. What are the special issues of someone who's been offering spiritual direction for more than five years? And of someone who's been receiving spiritual direction for more than five years? Written by a well-known practitioner, researcher and theoretician of the art, this clear and insightful book fills the gap by providing concrete help for both veteran directors and veteran directees. The book offers a theological basis for the process of direction then moves onto such advanced themes as resistance, desire in prayer, transference and counter-transference, love mysticism and mutuality with God. It also focuses on the special concerns of women in direction. Each chapter includes a section on theory, some illustrative case material, verbatims, and suggested discussion questions. Spiritual Direction: Beyond the Beginnings is for a wide ecumenical audience of both directors and directees. It's of particular interest to women clergy, retreat directors, pastors, and all religious and clergy who find themselves spiritual directors "by default."
Publishers Description Explores issues that arise in the advanced stages of spiritual direction from both a practical and theoretical perspective.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Spiritual Direction: Beyond the Beginnings?
Spiritual Direction: Not Far from the Beginning Aug 24, 2006
My expectations, from the title, led me to believe that possibly deeper insights into spiritual direction would be forthcoming, not necessarily new insights, but possible dimensions that I have not explored. This was not the case. I appreciated the author's candor about the Spiritual Exercises approach as not being the only way to approach spiritual direction. But the remaining was rather rudimentary for me with the emphasis on finding truth in, under and through the directee's frames of reference, experiences, expectations, values and being able to help the directee find the truth for himself/herself in relation to the truth of God's Word. I had trouble finishing it because of my initial expectations, I kept looking for something more and never found it. The information presented was good and solid, but not beyond. I would recommend using it in conjunction with a how-to do spiritual direction book.
Supplemental Jan 20, 2006
PROS: This book examines the art of spiritual direction from a clinical perspective. While spiritual direction is not the same thing as counseling, there are certain similarities. This book will help to refine the director's skills in these areas. The chapters of this book build upon one another, but still retain enough individual distinctives to stand alone. Therefore the reader may skim through the book and choose the chapter most relevant at the time for slower, deeper study. It is this feature that allows the book to become a useful reference work and earns it a place on the library shelves of Spiritual Directors.
CONS: The book was written by a woman, and seems to be mostly about women. Most of the illustrations and discussions of sessions address spiritual direction from a feminine perspective. This limits the usefulness just a little bit. Many seriously committed Christian men these days make use of spiritual direction. Also, the author's description of a mature spiritual relationship tends to be wrapped around emotional mystical experiences. This also limits the usefulness of the book since everyone in need of spiritual direction is not a mystic. Also, many mystics have grown past the point of equating mystical experiences with closeness to God. For many mystics, these experiences are secondary and a transformed life is primary. The book does not address character transformation with as much depth as it could.
MY RECOMMENDATION: This is not the best introductory book to spiritual direction one might come across, nor is it the best advanced book on the subject. But it does have its place. It is a useful reference book that the Spiritual Director may want to come back to again and again. That is why I labeled it "supplemental."